Publication Order of Shadow Children Books
|Among the Hidden||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Impostors||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Betrayed||(2002)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Barons||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Brave||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Enemy||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Among the Free||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Of all the reasons to write a book, or series of books, intended for entertainment purposes, the reason Margaret Haddix wrote the series The Shadow Children must be one of the most profound ever. She and her husband always knew they wanted to have kids but they were never quite certain what number of children was the right number for them and their family. When their first-born, a little girl, was about 3 years old and their second child, a boy, was around 21 months old, like so many couples, Haddix and her husband began discussing the possibility of a third child. Over time they began to explore and discuss the global ramifications, impacts and policies of having children in different countries around the world. Eventually China’s One-Child Policy came up in conversation. Haddix started to imagine how different life might be if she and her family lived in a society that had a policy similar to China’s. She imagined not only how it might be for the adults but also for the children. She began to imagine a 12-year-old boy. This boy had spent his whole life in hiding simply because he had been born in a country that had laws against having too many children. Through this chain of thought she developed the character Luke Garner, the main character for The Shadow Children series.
Luke, even though he is only 12 years old has probably lived more life than most adults ever will, or than they can even imagine. Luke has never had the things and events in his life that so many children and families take for granted. He hasn’t been to school, he hasn’t ever had birthday parties, never had a sleepover with a friend, but then again Luke hasn’t ever had any friends. Until 12 years of age Luke has been given a tiny amount of freedom in being allowed outside of his family’s farmhouse to roam the grounds and surrounding woods. As new houses begin going in next to the farm and the woods begin disappearing Luke is now contained solely in the family farmhouse. Then, one day everything changes for Luke when he finds another illegal child. At long last, he isn’t alone anymore. Jen Talbot moves in next to Luke. She is also an illegal shadow child and Jen has big ideas. Jen’s rebellious plans to put herself out in the open and taunt the Population Police create a struggle for Luke within himself. Should he remain hidden in the shadows living out his life in solitude and loneliness, never knowing what it feels like to be truly free, to have and exercise his own free will? Or, should he go along with Jen and her plan to leave the shadows and live a life free?
Among the Hidden
The first book in The Shadow Children series, Among the Hidden, begins the tale of Luke Garner and his struggle with being an illegal child that must remain hidden from the world. Luke must hide from the Population Police. These special police have deemed it illegal for couples to have more than two children. Hence, Luke, being a third child, is an illegal. Luke’s family are all terrified of the Population Police and they will do anything to keep Luke hidden. After Luke discovers the new neighbors, one of which is a Population Police officer, have a shadow child of their own he starts realizing he might have to consider venturing down the path of trying to live a life not in hiding. The parents of deceased children, if the death was kept a secret, would loan their deceased child’s identity to a third child. This type of arrangement is what allows Luke to finally be able to leave his family’s farmhouse and go to a boarding school. While attending the boarding school Luke meets the family that donated him the name that enabled him to leave home. Sometimes families aren’t always the people appear to be.
Haddix has readers from the first page yet again in the second book of The Shadow Children series, The Imposters. As the book begins Luke has been living out in the open while going to school at the Hendricks School for Boys. Although attending the school has gotten Luke out of the house he quickly realizes the confinement, like what he experienced before coming to the school, is not over and that the school presents its own set of obstacles. Then he discovers a door to the outside world. Deciding what to do with this door, to go outside or remain within the school. This becomes another challenge Luke doesn’t want to face but he knows he really has no choice. He has come to far in his journey to ignore the possibilities any longer. By venturing outside of the school Luke discovers new and amazing things about himself. Even more surprising than that he discovers that he isn’t alone inside or outside the school and that this isn’t necessarily the negative situation he expected.
Shadow Children Movie or No Movie?
While there has been a lot of discussion, and curiosity from fans, about a movie or movies made from The Shadow Children series. Haddix reports that so far nothing is in the works but she too would like to see her books on the big screen. She urges fans to keep an eye on her website where she will post the news if any of her books make it to Hollywood.
Sending a Message
Although Haddix states that this series is not set in China, or in any particular country for that matter, she did a great deal or extensive research on China’s One-Child policy before writing this book. Haddix believes that a story like the one she tells throughout The Shadow Children series could happen in any country and in any time period. This is why she did not set the book in any particular time period or locale. Haddix wanted the reader to imagine for themselves where and when this story might take place. She wanted to evoke thought and consideration how none of us are ever, completely, safe from a situation like the one she has presented in this book series.Book Series In Order » Characters » Shadow Children